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Hi everyone

i am new to the speedster world and smitten. Been looking for about a month, learned the market is not abundant. Is it really a 1-2 year wait for a new one? I kind of want to buy new but don’t want to wait. Also thought buying new might be best for someone who knows NOTHING about the mechanics . Looked at used one yesterday, it’s nice but not that perfect color combo I want, grey with tan interior has my heart.
Opinions, thoughts?

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i am new to the speedster world and smitten. Been looking for about a month, learned the market is not abundant. Is it really a 1-2 year wait for a new one? I kind of want to buy new but don’t want to wait. Also thought buying new might be best for someone who knows NOTHING about the mechanics . Looked at used one yesterday, it’s nice but not that perfect color combo I want, grey with tan interior has my heart.
Opinions, thoughts?

Welcome to the madness! It is really a 1-2 year wait for a car from Beck or Vintage Motorcars of California. High demand and a limited amount of production have driven long wait times. Be very wary of other makers (ask for advice here before making a commitment). There's a maker in Mexico that has started to get some uptake, but I don't know much about him. Maybe others on the forum can chime in?

Buying used is often the best bet for a lot of us. Depending on the condition of the car, it can get you on the road quickly. These cars are hand made, so even new ones have a shakedown period where little things need attention. A used car may help avoid that. Let me warn you, if you buy used, you may find that you end up liking the paint/interior combination well enough that you decide to live with it (think Speed Yellow).

If you found a very nice used car from a reputable maker, you might consider buying it and having the paint and interior redone to make it match your heart's desire. I'm guessing here, but I'd say $6000-$7000 for a respray if the body doesn't need much work. I bought the comfy seats and the leather interior kit from Greg at Vintage Motorcars and installed them myself. I'm sure you could find someone to do the same.

Make it what you want regardless of whether you buy new or used. They are just here to make us smile, and curiously enough, they generate a lot of smiles around us.

In any event, welcome, good luck, and ask a lot of questions!

Appreciate the input. I’m nervous because I don’t have any knowledge at all of mechanics. The one I looked at seems good and has a Porsche 914 engine with around 8300 miles. A few things that I did not like cosmetically but I think relatively inexpensive to fix. It’s a white color, he said it’s not painted. Tan interior so all I would do is have it painted but it’s in good shape now. Wonder if I could find someone in the Los Angeles area to take a look at it with me, I would be happy to pay for their time.
By the way, your car is stunning and exactly what I would want.  

DrClock's pre-sold - he built to new owner's specs. Other color combinations are maybe more classic and readily available used - red with black, silver with black or red, and black with red or tan.  A paint job can be costly but new interior is maybe $2k (pleather).  Remember it is not a modern car so perhaps best to buy used to see if you can cope with antiquities of no air/heat, leaky interior, noise, and people staring at you.  You do see (or did) many low mileage cars being should shortly after they are purchased.

I got tired of my Speedster not building itself and bought a new modern Mazda Miata ($30k with all amenities).

Last edited by WOLFGANG

Hi everyone

i am new to the speedster world and smitten. Been looking for about a month, learned the market is not abundant. Is it really a 1-2 year wait for a new one? I kind of want to buy new but don’t want to wait. Also thought buying new might be best for someone who knows NOTHING about the mechanics . Looked at used one yesterday, it’s nice but not that perfect color combo I want, grey with tan interior has my heart.
Opinions, thoughts?

I went through a similar internal debate and ended up buying new.  I was fixated on a narrow choice of colors, although in truth I would have been happy with a great number of colors so don’t limit yourself too much.  

My wait time was 11 months from Vintage Motorcars, I received it March of this year.   Word is the wait time now would likely be double that for a car ordered today.  I see you are in Woodland Hills.  Vintage Motorcars is the closest builder to your home and they come highly recommended on this site.  New or used I think a VMC build would be a good choice for you.  If used, a Beck (if registered in California) would also be a great choice.

Question - how many have you seen in person?  Have you been for a ride or have you driven one?  I only ask because you saw you are recently smitten and you self identify as a non mechanic.  I would suggest you learn as much as you can about what these cars are like to drive and own (and repair and maintain)  before making a commitment.  Or just follow your heart and buy one - life is short.  

Jon

@Speedster Alli

As a newbie to all this, I would never recommend you buy a new car.  We've seen a LOT of Speedsters bought new and gotten home only for the buyer to find that their significant other took one ride and then decided they didn't like it at all or the car was not what the buyer thought it was, either, so the car sat for maybe a year and then turns up for sale as a used vehicle with under 1,000 miles on it.  Owning and driving one of these cars is NOT like owning/driving a Mazda Miata.  They are much more like 60-year-old cars with newer, but the same, technology mechanicals underneath.

Cars turn up on here quite often, and they also appear on Craigslist so try waiting for something to pop up.  @Troy Sloan on here also flips some very nice cars and is within a visit from where you are.

There are a BUNCH of owners in the LA area and a lot of them are on here so getting some help with someone to take a look at a car with you is very possible.  You've already asked, so if you get some responses trade contact info and see what you can find as a team.

Good luck in your search!

Gordon - The Speedstah Guy from Massachusetts

Alli,

If you're not a mechanic that's fine, just know that air-cooled mechanics are getting hard to find. But since you're in SoCal you should be able to find more than a couple. Which zip code are you in and we can maybe make some recommendations.

A used car first is a good idea, just to see if it really is what you want. The problem right now is used ones are pretty expensive now that the wait is so long on a new one. And it comes with its own cons. Did the previous owner take care of it, did the previous owner build an unreliable car, did the seller put a band-aid on a major problem with the hopes of dumping the car before it grenades, etc. A new car can come with some cons too, especially when it comes to taking delivery and s"sorting out" some things that weren't discovered during the build process.

You should be close to Greg at Vintage Motorcars of California in Hawaiian Gardens, CA. Here's a link: https://www.vintagemotorcarsinc.com

Greg or nana can show you the cars, discuss the build process, help you with finding a mechanic, and etc etc.

If you're not a mechanic and you aren't going on cross country trips Greg is also building EV Speedsters. An EV Speedster would be a lot less headache in terms of mechanical stuff since it's electric.

Either way it'll be worth the trip to Hawaiian Gardens to check out the shop and look over the cars.

The one I’m looking at is a one owner car. The person that owns it bought it and refinished it. Has all the paperwork and title. CMC wide body.

some of the feedback I have had seems to go against CMC and also the average person restoring them. The gentleman that owns it has and is restoring many other cars, a retired man with a hobby.
he is reasonable on the price. I think my hesitance is always making an emotional discussion in my life has led to bad choices so I am finally listening to myself and researching a bit before I jump.
rebuilt Porsche engine with 8300 miles even has the receipt for that. I think my only complaints about the car is it is not the exact color I love but still very nice!and a few cosmetic things I would change or add.

Allie, a number of us have CMC cars on here and you’re right - The build quality is totally in the hands (quite literally) of the builder.   Those of us who have built (or finished, in my case) their cars in retirement for “something to do” have usually taken their time and produced a high quality car.  There are, of course, people out there with more passion than ability, but if your seller has taken on some other classics to restore and managed to finish them with good quality, he is probably a good builder/restorer to start with.

I don’t know Woodland Hills, CA but there must be someone knowledgeable in Speedsters on here within a reasonable commute who could help check one out for you and offer their advice.  Some used CMC Speedsters, well built, have been fetching over $40K lately and given the current market lead-time, if you were to buy one for a good price and decided it was not for you (they are “fair weather” cars, after all) you shouldn’t have much trouble re-selling it.

.

Good advice all around here, Allie.

The most common disappointment we see here is from folks who dive in without doing much research and THEN come to the forum asking if they've made good choices.

For your own sake, please, don't be that person.

These cars are very different from modern, factory-produced cars from major manufacturers - both in how much attention they need and in how they drive. We've all chosen to drive them despite all that, but the more you understand up front, the happier you'll be in the long run.

Take your time, explore all the options (there are a lot beyond color choices), and try to understand what you're getting into. I think a trip to Vintage Motorcars at a time when Greg Leach has time to talk to you would be a great first step. If you decide not to order, Greg may know of other cars in the area that are on the market.

Or go to a local Cars and Coffee where (especially in the LA area) these cars are likely to show up, and talk to some owners. You might get to drive one that way, too.

Finally, did I mention the best course is to take your time and learn all you can before deciding?

.

Last edited by Sacto Mitch

Rebuilt Porsche engine with 8300 miles?  I'd question what actual engine it is.  Most here use the Type 1 VW bug engine.  Stock it was 50 hp but can be modified to over 120.  A real Porsche 356 engine (or later 912) was same 1500-1600 cc displacement but produced 75-90 hp. A real 356 is easily 5-10 times more expensive to rebuild and probably maintain. I guess it could a Porsche 914 engine but that was really a VW Type 4 engine (1.7/1.8/2.0L stock 76-110 hp).  It is a strong engine but costly to convert to power a Speedster - 2-3x cost of the bug engine.  Verify engine and specs.  Post photo here.  Other than Porsche bragging rights - most here would probably prefer a well-built VW T1 engine - large # of cheap VW parts easily available.

A 1600 cc VW T1 engine was 50 hp so not blistering fast.  If you are ok with car's acceleration and noise at cruising speed, check that it doesn't overheat after 30 minutes of hard driving and that it doesn't leak a lot of oil (all seem to leak a drop or 5). Ask for the engine serial #.  Check also that the chassis serial # (VIN of sorts) matched the title and chassis.

Does it have a top and side curtains?  Many home builders don't get that far.  Can be a wet drive.  The car of DrClock's I posted was a CMC - my car is a CMC.  There were more of them produced than any other company but majority as kits for DIY build.

Here's what a 356/912 engine looks like - most obvious feature is the oil filter mounted on the cooling shroud (left upper circle), oil filler (right upper circle) and the generator (center circle) (vs alternator).

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Last edited by WOLFGANG

There being a generator doesn't automatically make it a 356/912 engine, as most Type 1 engines actually came so originally equipped.  Other easy clues- the carb linkage being on the backside of the shroud and the flange on the top of the case where the generator stand bolts down being at an angle (not horizontal) also point to a P engine.

@WOLFGANG posted:

Rebuilt Porsche engine with 8300 miles?  I'd question what actual engine it is.  Most here use the Type 1 VW bug engine.  Stock it was 50 hp but can be modified to over 120.  A real Porsche 356 engine (or later 912) was same 1500-1600 cc displacement but produced 75-90 hp. A real 356 is easily 5-10 times more expensive to rebuild and probably maintain. I guess it could a Porsche 914 engine but that was really a VW Type 4 engine (1.7/1.8/2.0L stock 76-110 hp).  It is a strong engine but costly to convert to power a Speedster - 2-3x cost of the bug engine.  Verify engine and specs.  Post photo here.  Other than Porsche bragging rights - most here would probably prefer a well-built VW T1 engine - large # of cheap VW parts easily available.

A 1600 cc VW T1 engine was 50 hp so not blistering fast.  If you are ok with car's acceleration and noise at cruising speed, check that it doesn't overheat after 30 minutes of hard driving and that it doesn't leak a lot of oil (all seem to leak a drop or 5). Ask for the engine serial #.  Check also that the chassis serial # (VIN of sorts) matched the title and chassis.

Does it have a top and side curtains?  Many home builders don't get that far.  Can be a wet drive.  The car of DrClock's I posted was a CMC - my car is a CMC.  There were more of them produced than any other company but majority as kits for DIY build.

Here's what a 356/912 engine looks like - most obvious feature is the oil filter mounted on the cooling shroud (left upper circle), oil filler (right upper circle) and the generator (center circle) (vs alternator).

Yep you are way beyond my pay scale here.
Here is the photo of the engine, it is a rebuilt 914 engine he said. He bought the car from the original owner. Has all paperwork even old receipts for the engine. The original owner out the engine in, not sure if he had to replace or just wanted to.
transmission and carburetor are Porsche too from what he says.  Not stating it like I think it’s good to have, I have no idea, really a question. 

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Wolfgang wrote: “Yup VW-Porsche 914 ('70-76 914).  Installed in its original flat pancake form. “    That means that the cooling fan system is horizontal with the fan at the rear, rather than a vertical fan in the center.  Either version should cool the engine OK, but make sure the current horizontal fan inlet can get as much air as possible to prevent overheating.


On the engine.  “Originally was FI. “ means the engine originally was electronically fuel injected but those systems were finicky and sometime hard to keep working.  The fall-back was removing the injection system and replacing it with a much simpler carburetor which that engine has.

Can add dual carb for a little increase in power.  While adding a second carburetor would increase the power a bit, it also increases overall complexity and for a person who is light in mechanical skills, I would just leave it with a single, centered carburetor for now.  It’ll work just fine.  

Probably doesn't have heater.   But that’s no big deal where you are, right?

@Speedster Alli @Jon T jon, dude...you should be a good guy and  meet up with this lady at one of the c&c's and give her a spin in your beauty....and alli?.. you live in woodland hills?...you should go to SUPERCAR SUNDAY....next sunday 7/10 is PORSCHE MARQUE DAY....it is from 7am till 10am....entrance is at mason st & victory blvd....there are usually a replica or 2 there ...and sometimes mine ...but in general REAL DEAL PORSCHE eye candy...or go on www.socalcarculture.com that has every car show listing for the entire area....but i digress....look around the car shows ...and get a feel for what's out there....happy motoring!

@jncspyder posted:

@Speedster Alli @Jon T jon, dude...you should be a good guy and  meet up with this lady at one of the c&c's and give her a spin in your beauty....and alli?.. you live in woodland hills?...you should go to SUPERCAR SUNDAY....next sunday 7/10 is PORSCHE MARQUE DAY....it is from 7am till 10am....entrance is at mason st & victory blvd....there are usually a replica or 2 there ...and sometimes mine ...but in general REAL DEAL PORSCHE eye candy...or go on www.socalcarculture.com that has every car show listing for the entire area....but i digress....look around the car shows ...and get a feel for what's out there....happy motoring!

Thank you for the info. I will check out the shows.

took a look at Jon’s car pictures. That is a beautiful looking car! Exact color that I love too.

@LI-Rick posted:

Doubtful a 914 transmission. These are not a simple bolt in to a rear engine configuration.

The 914's version of the Porsche 901 5 speed can be used but "not a simple bolt in".  First as is it would be 1 speed forward and 5 in reverse!  So R&P has to be flipped and a breather hole added.  Next the 901nose cone and a mounting bracket has to be fitted - about $1k in parts.  Then the VW pan and transmission horns clearanced a bit. Plus 5 speed shifter added.

@WOLFGANG posted:

Rebuilt Porsche engine with 8300 miles?  I'd question what actual engine it is.  Most here use the Type 1 VW bug engine.  Stock it was 50 hp but can be modified to over 120.

120hp. Really? A whopping 120? Try 180-200hp. And I really beg to differ about reliability. The right person can build a really powerful, tractable, cool running, and reliable type1.

The EASIEST way to tell a 356/912 motor is the mechanical fuel pump. It's at 9 o'clock looking at the crank pulley, just below and to the left of the distributor. On a type1 VW motor the fuel pump is at 12 o'clock, directly to the right of the distributor.

Last edited by DannyP

Its been said already but I'll chime in as well.  Some of my happiest clients are ones who bought used and placed an order for a new one.  That gave them several years to enjoy a car and learn what they like and don't like and make those changes on their new build.  You'd be amazed at how the spec sheet can change after a few years of ownership!  Their new car is delivered and (usually) addresses all of the things on the "wish list" of their used one and the use done gets sold off, handed down, whatever.

As Carey says, it's a good idea to buy used to find out what you like and don't like.  I like his idea of getting a used one, placing an order for a new one, and sorting out your wish list.

I had two used Intermeccanicas (a Roadster and a Speedster) which I enjoyed, before I commissioned my IM6 build, and I'm happy with what I have now.  You really need time to get used to these cars - how they drive, how they operate, etc.  They are not Miatas, and require a special type of owner.

The worst thing you can do is buy one on looks alone.  A colour combination doesn't seem so great once/if the problems start.

That's a very good point on not buying on looks alone.

I built my car and the main intent was a road-eating, very good handling, lot'sa power roadster-like thing, so I mostly concentrated on getting the suspension just the way I liked it, an engine with plenty of power and a transmission geared for twisty New England roads.  The car was originally black gel coat with burgundy interior and I was OK with that color combo.

Several years went by and I was still working on the build and not yet on the road (I know - Finding quality build-time was hard back then) but then I saw a co-worker's pearl white Audi and fell in love with the color.  The bonus was, the interior looked a lot better against white than the original black.  A friend had my original black color combo and it just doesn't "pop" like the white/burgundy does.   A Hot Rod friend sprayed the new color and you really can't tell that the car was anything other than white, anywhere.  I made sure it had a plastic film on the nose because any stone chip would pop the paint off and show black underneath.    

It's the same old car underneath, with the exception of going to a 3:88 final drive to get the revs down a bit on Interstates, but all anyone on here has seen is the white version and it still draws lots of attention.

"Hey!  Is that one-a them Kit Cars?"    

Last edited by Gordon Nichols
@chines1 posted:

Its been said already but I'll chime in as well.  Some of my happiest clients are ones who bought used and placed an order for a new one.  That gave them several years to enjoy a car and learn what they like and don't like and make those changes on their new build.  You'd be amazed at how the spec sheet can change after a few years of ownership!  Their new car is delivered and (usually) addresses all of the things on the "wish list" of their used one and the use done gets sold off, handed down, whatever.

I can attest to this 100%. I bought a lightly used Beck in 2011 and made upgrades every winter until I figured what pushed my buttons. My car was delivered  June of 2016 and I have done nothing other than drive it and change the oil. At some point I will try and find a set of Vredestein's but honestly I am just happy to hop in turn the key and drive.  

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